Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Nit Picks or Valid Points?


I'm not writing about spooks and goblins, but rather other scary things. *smile*  Being an author is a confusing job at times.  I've always considered I could write with some coherence, but when you start having other people critique your work or edit your final manuscript, you start to wonder if you really know anything at all.

Rita has done a fine job of pointing out a majority of the mistakes unseasoned authors make, but I need to add my few examples to the mix.  I'm sure glad she mentioned her tip from school because it certainly helped me with who versus whom. 

I just finished a novel where the author used "threw opened" the door.  Now, since I'm not sure whether I'm an expert or not, I would have written "threw open" the door to keep it in the present tense.  Who's right?  I have no idea.  Help me out here.

Another little tip I learned and wonder if anyone cares besides one particular editor (and clearly, not every editor does)...if you use sit there is no need to say "down" because sitting indicates, down...unless of course someone is startled from sleep and sits up in bed, but then you'd better show the reader by using something like, Clara heard a noise and bolted upright in bed.  On the other hand, if you use stood, there is no reason to use "up" because standing indicates up.  Seems petty to me, but I made the suggested changes and it read just as well.  Does anyone notice?

Then of course, there's the good ol' action before reaction.  Who knew people cared what happened first...a mouse skittered across the floor and Ellie jumped onto a chair?  Well, I do know now.  Why would she leap onto a chair unless she saw something that scared her?  Makes perfect sense, right?

I'm still trying to avoid the latest writing faux pas pointed out to me.  I can't count how many books I've read where an author has identified who is feeling, hearing or seeing something...example:  She heard a noise outside the window and a chill ran up her spine.  Well, guess what?  A seasoned author has clearly kept the reader involved in the specific character's POV, and would therefore know who heard the noise, therefore telling them again is obviously insulting their intelligence.  So, I'm trying very hard not to be rude and watching sentences which start with a pronoun, specifically, since the use of too many shes or hes is also redundant.  At the end of each paragraph, I'm reading back to see which I can eliminate, and I've surprised myself.  If I start the scene clearly in one character's POV, I can simply mention that a noise sounded outside, or he walked into the room...and of course if she was there, she heard and saw both.

So, my dilemma now is trying to resume being a normal reader.  Instead, I have an internal editor who reads with a red pen mentality and looks for these so-called mistakes...ones I never make anymore.  Yeah right.  I can't even remember where I put my car keys, what are the chances I can remember every editing rule I've had pointed out over the years?   Yeah, that's my trick or treat.


Do raise and rise mean the same thing, or is there a difference? —Anonymous
A: It’s hard to believe, but the answer to both of the questions posed is yes. Both words technically mean the same thing (to move upwards), but there is a difference in how you should use each one.
Rise is intransitive verb and does not take an object. What this means is that you use the verb rise when something moves upwards by itself.
The sun rises every morning.
I rise out of bed quickly when the smell of freshly cooked bacon is in the air.
In these examples, the subjects (“the sun” and “I”) move upward on their own, without the physical help of an outside force (though the smell of bacon certainly helps in its own way).
Raise, on the other hand, is a transitive verb that requires that the subject act upon an object. In other words, something raises something else.
The Boy Scouts raised money to offset the cost of their next camping trip.
I raised my hand in the meeting to ask, “Why isn’t there any bacon here?”
In the first sentence, the Boy scouts (subject) raised money (object). In the second, I (subject) raised my hand (object).
When constructing your sentence, just look to see if the subject rises on its own or if it’s raising something else. This will help you determine which verb to use.
Q: I don’t understand the difference between who and whom. Can you please explain to me, in simple terms, how to differentiate between the two?—Anonymous
The confusion between who and whom is one of the most common problems writers face. It can be tricky to find the correct use, and sometimes you may feel like locating the person who invented both words and smacking him upside his head. But there is a difference.
Who is used as the subject of a verb or complement of a linking verb. It’s a nominative pronoun. It was Carl who broke all the pencils in the house. When writing a sentence, first find the verb(s)—was and broke. Then, find the subject for each verb: Carl and who. Since who is a subject, it’s correct. Who needs a crayon to write this down?
Whom is used as the object of the verb or the object of a preposition. It’s an objective pronoun. You asked whom to the dance? In this case, the subject and verb are “You asked.” The pronoun following the verb is the object of the verb, therefore whom is correct. He’s already going to the prom with whom? This pronoun is the object of the preposition with, so whom is the right pick. Be careful, though. Make sure the prepositional pronoun in question isn’t also a subject—if it is, then you use who. For example, I cheered for who played hardest. While the pronoun follows a preposition (for), it’s also the subject of the second verb (played). When placed as a subject, always use who.
One way to remember is to check to see which pronoun can replace the questionable word. It’s a little trick I learned back in elementary school: If it can be replaced with “he,” you use who; if “him” fits better, use whom. Sometimes you may need to split the sentence to see it. For example, It was Carl—he broke all the pencils in the house. Who should be used here. You asked him to the dance? Whom is the correct choice.
And when in doubt on the “who whom” debacle, recast the sentence to avoid the issue altogether.
Information provided by: Brian Klems  - You may follow Brian on Twitter: @BrianKlems   - Sign up for his free weekly eNewsletter: WD Newsletter

Monday, October 29, 2012

Having a Writing Platform is a Must: 13 Ways to Build Yours - by Rita

Having a writing platform means that you have built a following, and that you have created ways to reach those readers you want to sell books to. A writing platform is equally important to those published and soon to be published.
     Did you know that before an agent or publisher considers signing you, he/she will do a Google search on your name to see how often it comes up? These days publishers can't afford to promotion for you like they did years ago. They want proof you are willing and able to help generate some excitement about your books. They need you to help sell your books.
Let’s face it – the more internet presence you have, the better your chances are of getting signed into a book deal. Let’s discuss how you can create a successful writing platform.
  1. Attend book signings and readings. Do you know the writers in your community?  You should. Writers love to read and they buy books and support other writers in their effort to create a writing platform. Making connections will put you on mailing lists and will increase your chances of being invited to literary events and parties. Believe me - the connections you make at these events are invaluable. You have lists of contacts – right?  So these authors you are making friends with also have their list of contacts. Offer to send information about your book to your contact lists if they will do the same for your books. You’ve both just increased your writing platform.
  2. Consider doing public readings of your work. When I wrote children’s stories – I would go to schools and do readings.  The same principle holds true with writing any book.  Find a place to do readings, books stores, libraries, and historical societies (depending on the book you are writing).  Readings are encouraged in almost every town or city. If no reading series exists in your area, consider starting one. Readings are often publicized on the internet, through the library, or even written about in the newspaper. The attention you receive here may strengthen your writing platform.
  3. Blogging and having a writer website is a must. This is a great avenue to showcase your books and any services you provide.  Brag – if you don’t say how great your stories are – who is going to?
  4. Keep your website fresh and new. Remember your goal is to encourage visitors return to your website often. Share useful information and services for readers or other writers. Promote your availability as a speaker.  Don’t just tell visitors what books are available.  Make the access to them easy with the push of a button. Also, don’t only list what books are published, but share what story or series you are working on – include a blurb . . . entice them to check back with you!
  5. Be willing to teach others. You didn’t get where you are as a writer without help. Now it’s your turn to be willing to teach others.  Offer to be a guest speaker at schools, conferences, and even writer’s groups. Share your knowledge and your time and you will make friends and even develop followers to strengthen your writing platform.  Always keep track of the people you meet to broaden your writing platform.  
  6. Have you considered writing articles or blog at other websites? Be willing to do interviews. You won't be paid for these articles, but the exposure you receive as an author is payment enough.  All this exposure helps build your writing platform. Be sure that your name and website address is at the bottom of every article. Consider insisting that the link is active for online sources.   Make it easy for readers to only make a click to contact you or learn more about you. Keep you name visible wherever you can.
  7. Find ways to advertise on other websites. It’s worth spending $20 or $30 a month to be placed at high traffic websites that link to your website. Keep an eye on traffic increases when adding new advertising sites; be aware which ads are most effective in driving traffic to your site. I actually believe articles and blogs are more effective than ads.
  8. Offer a newsletter – steering people to your website. Providing visitors the opportunity to sign up for your newsletter allows you to stay in contact with your visitors and keep your email list current. Give it careful thought because it’s a lot of extra work. If you're certain you have the time and the imagination to keep a monthly newsletter current, it’s a good way to help build a strong writing platform.
  9. Give a business card to everyone you meet. Never miss an opportunity to hand out your business cards.  I always have one or more of my current book covers on the card with my website and email address on the back, which encourages individuals to visit your website and opt in to your newsletter. Leave small stacks of cards in places of business and on bulletin boards to encourage strangers to take them and pass them on. I even add a business card in envelopes when I pay bills!
  10. Offer free teleconferences online. Offering a free one-hour PowerPoint presentation is a great way to increase your existing contact list. Before the call, provide participants with the telephone number, web address, and password. WebEx, ReadyTalk, and others offer convenient services for about $49 a month, with free trials.
  11. Offer short video presentations. Some computer have video capabilities to create video presentations.  Consider having a friend videotape you as you read from your book or share partial information from your courses. Post these videos on social networking sites and on video sites such as YouTube, Viddler, MetaCafe, etc. Be sure to include a line of text that sends viewers to your website.
  12. Hire a publicist.  We all know that small presses can't afford doing publicity for their authors, and larger publishers are spending less and less. It’s up to you. You want to keep your name and your books visible so you slowly build a following. This does not happen overnight; you build your platform one name at a time.
     I’m the kind of writer that wants to be left alone to write …write…write.  But we have to be smart.  The days when a writer could write and leave promotional concerns to the publisher are gone. Let’s face it – we are  expected to self-promote. Use the steps above to create a writing platform before you need one and especially once you're published.  It’s hard work – but if you want your books to sell you need to create a successful writing platform.
     Don't pad your list with people who never agreed to let you contact them. Be savvy and make your list "opt-in only," and build a following of at least 5000 fans or interested contacts. Your agent and publisher will love you for it and your success will shoot toward the stars.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

An Interview with Ginger

Aren't updated reruns great?  This interview originally appeared on a friends site a few years go and I'm sure two people might have seen it.  I've updated it a bit and decided to promote myself so you know I'm still alive and kicking.

1.     Tell us a bit about your latest book, and what inspired you to write the story.
I'm going to pick my YA, Shortcomings, which was previously released in February of last year.  It hasn't lived up to what I hoped to see, not just in sales, but in getting out a very important message.  My inspiration came from my autistic grandson, and I worry he will be picked on by his peers as he grows older.  Young children are so much more accepting of differences than the upper grades.  I truly want people to acknowledge that disabilities don’t define a person or their worth.  We may not realize the discomfort we cause with our curious stares and backhanded comments.  Bullying comes from all ages, shapes, sizes, and colors, and in a myriad of instances.  Adults can benefit from reading this book as well as my target audience because the saying, "we learn what we live" has never been truer.
2.     What was the most difficult or easy aspect of writing this piece?
Besides Spencer’s disability, I drew on my own experiences of fighting my weight, and how I felt in high school when making friends for me wasn’t as easy as some.
3.     Who’s your favorite character in your upcoming release?
I’d have to say Cory Neil, my young football hero.  He sees the beauty in Cindy despite her own blindness to it.  He’s determined, and I love that about him.
4.     What similarities are there between you and any of your characters?
None really.  My characters are young, with their whole lives ahead of them.  I've already faced becoming a senior citizen, and the idea of where the years went is overwhelming.  Writing Shortcomings was a great glimpse into my younger years and why I’m stronger today than I was back then.  I only wish I could go back and do a few things differently instead of blending into the crowd because I didn't want to become a target or, God forbid, have someone thing I was friends with the people they picked on.  Today, I wouldn't fade into the background...I'd stand up, no matter what.  It's easier said than done, I know, but right is right.
5.     What kind of research did you have to do in order to write your new book?
Unlike my historical novels where research plays a huge role in the story, this one required very little.  At one point in my heroine’s life,  with graduation looming, she needed to make a career decision. Her desire: to work with children with disabilities, specifically blind students.  I contacted a school for the blind in Nashville, and the administrator was kind enough to supply me with actual job descriptions and requirements for those positions.
6.     Several of your books have an American Indian theme. I’ve been fascinated by Indian culture and lore since as early as I have memories. Your books White Heart, Lakota Spirit, Prairie Peace, and Sarah’s Heart involve western Indian settings and storylines. I know you chose the Sioux for Praire Peace and obviously the Lakota for White Heart, Lakota Spirit.  
      Just FYI, the Lakota are a branch of the Sioux nation.  I just got more detailed.
a.     How did you select specific tribes as backdrops for those novels?
I’ve long had a fascination with the American Indian.  I’ve read countless books about the various tribes and their cultures.  For some strange reason, the Lakota Sioux are the ones I identify with most.  Who knows…perhaps a past life? 
b.     What research did you do?
More reading.  I have a wonderful book put out by Reader’s Digest on American Indians, rites and rituals, and I invested in two specifically about the Sioux.  The knack of converting the research into your own words is tricky because if you copy anything verbatim, you are opening yourself up for plagiarism charges.  It happened to one well-known historical author, and she lost some contracts because of it.
c.     Any plans for writing from the perspective of another tribe? You live near present-day Cherokee, whose culture I find intriguing. Any future story involving that tribe?
Funny you should ask.  The trail of tears passed near where I live, and the history of the Natchez Trace is well known here.  I might just be motivated to start another historical soon.  At the moment, I do have one started about a tribe in Alaska.  That's pretty tough because I know very little of their culture and I'm really having to dig deep. In the meantime, a female detective has demanded I listen to her, so I've made much more progress on my mystery.  Wow! Talk about jumping from one genre to another.  I'm making a broad leap here.  *smile*
7.     Do you get along with your muse? What do you do to prod her/him along when she/he refuses to inspire you?
My muse is motivated by my characters and their willingness to chat.  I’m not a plotter, so when someone pops into my head with a story to tell, I’m motivated to do the typing to see where I end up.  I’ve been pleasantly surprised more than once.  I find when I write out of my comfort zone, it takes me a lot longer.
8.     What sort of character is hanging in the back of your mind, that your muse is playing with and trying to tempt you to write into a new work?
     Right now, I have no one hanging in my mind with a NEW story, and that’s unusual, but fine.  In the past,  on any given day, I have about five WIPS, but the past few months, the silence has enabled me to complete, query and contract what I have finished. I just need to get motivated to finish the ones I've started and I'm sure others will follow.  That's usually the course of action.  Right now, I'm glad the voices have fallen silent because my health hasn't been up to par and I've had to force myself to even come to the computer.
9.     If you could meet one character from any literary work, who would it be and what one question would you ask them?
I think it would have to be Scarlett O’Hara, and my question, “What in the heck were you thinking?” 
10.  What project are you currently writing?
I think I answered that already, but just in case people want to look for the upcoming titles one of these years....A Novel Murder and Chugiak Moon.
11.  Where can one find information about your novels and how to purchase?
All of my books are listed on Amazon on my author's page, and in other locations.  Google is a wonderful tool for finding me.  Shortcomings is offered through Muse It Up Publishing and if purchased there, comes with a free study guide.  With the holidays coming, this book would be a great gift for anyone who likes inspiration...or lacks it.  *smile*

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Ginger Asks...Ever Written A Difficult Review?

I'm not just an author, I've an avid reader, and although issues with my vision have slowed me down in both departments, when I find an author I love and discover that reading that person's work helps me to enhance my own novels, I can't pass up that opportunity.  Besides, I love to be entertained and this particular author has never disappointed me..

Don't be surprised that Rita Karnopp is that person, and one of the main reasons I asked her to join me on this blog.  She knows the importance of historical research, and even though we are fictional authors, one thing we both know is that facts pertinent to the era and people about which we write is vastly important and frequently scrutinized by historical buffs.  Besides, Rita is filled with wonderful ideas both for her novels and her blogs.  If I wasn't already a senior citizen, I'd want to be her when I grow up, but that doesn't mean I can't still admire her talent and aspire to reach the heights I feel she has.

Click to Visit Site
Recently, she had a new release and needed some peer reviews.  Believe it or not, we can be honest and forthcoming in what we write, and I have to admit I had some reservations about reading and reviewing a story written about an era and topic I've tried to avoid.  Gypsy Spirit is the first book in a new series from Books We Love Publishing, and in this case the topic is the holocaust.  My father, deceased now, was brought up Jewish and I suppose immigrated with his family to avoid the horrors and atrocities so aptly described in the novel.  I hated imagining the relatives I never met traveling in crowded railroad cards to unknown destinations only to be killed in the Nazi gas chambers of the prison and death camps.

I hated the realism shown through the persecution of a young Gypsy girl and her family, learning through a well-researched novel, that the Jewish people were far from the only ones who suffered at the hands of Hitler What I abhor the most if we still have these types of  people, but we call them bullies, politicians or terrorists.  Will history repeat itself?  I certainly hope not, but it's true there are those out there who hate us for our differences. This book is an eye-opener.

While I hated the subject matter of Gypsy Spirit, I have to salute my favorite author for taking on such a difficult topic and putting history into perspective through her story, research, and ability to create characters who grab your heart and work their way into your soul.  Kudos again to Rita Karnopp for delivering another winner.

Rita Explains...Understanding Your Platform

"Writing platform" seems to be what everyone is talking about these days – it’s the new buzz phrase in the writing and publishing world. All writers must have a platform.  Hmmm — I guess that is a specific direction and/or set of values—before they begin to even write. So what exactly is a writing platform? How can it help you?
     Author Sage Cohen, author of
The Productive Writer, defines platform as "the turf you claim and name as your area of expertise in your writing life, and it's everything you do to make that expertise visible. Just as a thesis is the foundation of a term paper around which its argument is built, a platform is an organizing principle around which a writer's many expressions of work revolve. A platform says to both the writer and the world, 'I am an expert in [fill in the blank with your specialty]!'" Yours should be a topic or craft or theme or audience that has energy and curiosity for you: one that you know about and want to invest a whole lot more time knowing a whole lot more about.
    With such clarity of purpose, over time you will likely publish, teach, lead, and share wisdom in ways that express, explore, and give shape to your expertise. And as this happens, you will start to become recognized as an authority in your chosen realm.
     It’s essential these days for authors to have a clear understanding of writing platforms. Learn what an author’s platform is and ways to build a writing platform from the book The Productive Writer by Sage Cohen.
     Put another way, platform is both the destination and the path. It’s effective because you build it as you go. It keeps you moving forward, tells you where forward is, and is the measure against which you decide if you’re getting there.
     Using a Writing Platform & Publishing Your Work ~ Platform is the leverage to pitch, sell, and write the book. But there are many stages of publishing (articles, essays, poems, stories) along the way that precede becoming an author and contribute to growing a platform.
     There are many ways to develop your platform, including:
·         Teach what you know.
·         Self-publish
·         Offer tips via a blog, Twitter or Facebook
·         Read your work publicly as much as possible.
·         Start your own online community
·         Offer editing or support in your field.
·         Create an e-zine or newsletter.
·         Join organizations in your field
·         Publish articles
·         Offer information in your area of expertise.

     Once you know your platform, you can focus on your writing and gain momentum. A platform helps you understand your area of expertise better, directs you to your potential audiences, and improves your odds of publishing.
     Think about your values as a writer - if the word platform scares you. What do you want to accomplish from your writing? What do you want others to take away from your work? When building your own platform, you may want to consider doing the following:
  • Study those authors who you love to read.  What are they doing to create a public image?
  • Create a blog and begin publicly writing about your area of expertise.
  • Get involved in writing communities—both online and in person.  Never underestimate the power of networking for both inspiration and opportunity.
  • Utilize social media, whenever practical, in order to build networks and promote your work.
  •  Read other works within your field.  If you want to be a romance novelist, read the best-selling romance novels.  If you want to become a memoirist, stay current on trends in the world of creative nonfiction.
  • Begin to think of your writing life your real life.  You are a writer once you put your ideas into daily practice, regardless of how many publications you can claim. 

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Rod Thompson - Author and Guest

Our guest today is Rod Thompson, author of The Black Hills.  He has a message he'd like to share with our military, and it's something we all should consider, so without further ado....

While trying to come up with a subject for this blog, I remembered a newsman’s so very infuriating statement that: “Another young male and female soldier gave their lives for America today," and then went to the weather.  That's it?  They gave up their lives, thank you very much, have a nice day?  That's all they get? 
And what does “Gave up their lives mean?”
Does that just mean yesterday they were alive and today they’re not?

No!..Hell no!...They did NOT just give up their life for us,
They gave us fifty or sixty years of living.
By Rod Thompson, author of America’s New Five-Star-Rated Favorite Western Epic: “The Black Hills.”
They keep us safe, they keep us well protected:
America’s Guardian’s…Heroes all:
They share their strengths and ignore their fears,
and when it’s quiet, they hide their tears
while dreaming of home and all of their used-to-be lives.
And they do it so we all can go to mall and worry over shorts or long pants,
or Barbeque burgers, or walk in the park, and enjoy all the many things that they can’t.
But when they die they DO NOT just give up their life!!!
They give us their lives!!!

Now he’ll never get that go-fast car on the poster back at home,
or have his face slapped for going to fast in its back seat.
He’ll never see the tears in his mother’s eyes
when he hands her his college diploma,
or feel the  pride when  his dad says “way to go, son…way to go”
And she’ll never see the love in her bridegroom’s eyes
As she glides towards him down the isle: resplendent beauty in a fitted gown of white.
And she’ll never hear his ragged breathing, or laugh as his nervous fingers, helps her slip it off that very night.
They’ll not have the chance to buy their first fixer-upper,
with the scraping and painting their own wonderful mess,
or share the excitement and relief, the laughter and love,
when her doctor explains the why of her morning sickness
There’ll be no dirty diapers, or baby boy’s geyser-surprise,
or peacefully nursing her baby in the two a.m. rocking chair.
No sleep-late Sundays or pizza at the mall,
or pretend-anger when her husband’s kiss musses’ her hair
No silly fights over forgotten reasons
not knowing whose right or whose wrong
No midnight lovin’ or make-up kissin’
with two hearts making love strong
There’ll be no coaching soccer or softball games
or teaching his son how to bat
No hi-daddy kisses or I-love-you-mommy hugs
from an angel-girl sitting there on her lap
No music recitals, no watching parades
No teaching their children to drive
No watching Reba on the CMA
with Dolly sitting there by her side
No super-bowl parties with Nachos and beer
and bets that are usually lost
Or watching macho-studs and movie stars
in bikinis made from dental floss
No four-wheel drives and water ski boats
And trips to their favorite lake
No rum in Hawaii or cruise to Alaska,
or good bourbon to wash down a good steak
No camping or fishing or hiking the hills
Or watching the sun come up
No fireflies or robins or crawdads or guppies
or watching a high flying duck
No Thanksgiving Turkey, no Christmas day ham
with Grandparents and a house full of kids
with too many presents and too much spent-money
and laughter making them glad that they did
They miss out on their lives,
the heartbreaks and tears,
their children and all of their friends
They miss out on their families and happy good times,
And  their  families  miss  out  on  them!!!

They keep us safe, they keep us well protected:
America’s Guardian’s…Heroes all:
They share their strengths and ignore their fears,
and when it’s quiet, they hide their tears
while dreaming of home and all of their used-to-be lives.
And they do it so we all can go to the mall and worry over shorts or long pants,
or Barbeque burgers, or walk in the park, and enjoy all the many things that they can’t.
But when they die they DO NOT just give up their life!!!
They give us their lives!!!
To our military and their families:
Freedom isn’t free
It's you who pays the price
For that, America loves you,
We thank you so very much
and we pray that God brings you all safely home.
Please God?

To find out more about Rob and his book, please visit Amazon.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Never miss an opportunity - -by Rita

     It used to bother me when people ‘insinuated’ that I talk too much.  I’m an extrovert!  Helllooooo!!  Well, if you know exactly what I mean . . . in ways that hurts.  But I’ll tell you what . . . most the time I talk … because no one else is talking!  Really – don’t you find it awkward when people are all quiet . . . looking around …not really at anyone . . . and they don’t know what to say???  
     Okay – I’m sorry but that makes me sooooo UNCOMFORTABLE!  I have to say something! Anything!  Help … PLEASE!  There is always something to talk about!  Even with a stranger . . . like, “Do you like to read?”  That is a good opener … and if they say one word, “Yes,” then I continue.  “What genre or type of books do you like to read?” “What was the last book you read?”
     I’m not pushy with, “Great . . . I’m a writer.  Here’s one of my cards… look me up!” Although that works in grocery store lines or with the checkout girl.
     “What? You don’t do that?”  Boy, I sure do!  I ask the, “Are you a reader?” to the waitress, the person sitting next to me at a party, or waiting in line at the bathroom, or the teacher, or the wait in line at the fast-food, etc.  I just handed out two postcards with my book info on them to ladies at the post office.  They were so happy – and so was I   I never miss an opportunity. 
     Does it really help?  I don’t really know – but it truly can’t hurt!  When I pay my bills – guess what – it’s an opportunity to drop in a writer business card … or a slip of paper that announces my latest release, a picture of the book, short blurb and a web site to both my publisher and me! 
     Give your friends and family cards . . . in case they start talking about books – and they comment, oh my mother/father, or sister/brother, or friend, is a writer!  Here I happen to have her/his card.  J  My husband, daughter, son, daughter-in-law, and several friends have my cards; and it’s amazing how many times they comment – “Oh, I gave so & so one of your writing cards today.” It all adds up!   
     Never miss an opportunity to encourage people to look at your books! 

Monday, October 22, 2012

Grammar Ain’t What It Used to be!

    Could of, what is that?  Did they mean could’ve (a contraction of could have)?

·         Irregardless  (even my computer doesn’t like this one, and I will not be “adding it to the computer’s dictionary).  Irregardless is not a word, the correct word is REGARDLESS, it probably came from the words respective and irrespective.  I even had a colleague that graduated college summa cum laude; argue with me saying “It is a word because it is in the dictionary.” After I pointed out that the dictionary defines the word as used in jest and/or “non-standard, use of regardless”, he continued to use irregardless.  The bad news is people can add it to the dictionary on their computer- isn’t that special!
Really? Unless your ramblings are intentionally illiterate, you should never say or write, “Me and my brother,” “Her and I,” “we was,” or “She don’t.”  “But I often see “myself” instead of “me”. Wrong: “She gave the book to John and myself”.   Right: “She gave the book to John and me”.  If John were gone, you’d say, “She gave the book to me”.  Wouldn’t you?      I just read a book the other day where the character said, “Me and my sister went shopping.”  REALLY??
·         This next one bothers me the most.  Incidentses. This is not a word. One event is an “incident.”   Two or more events are “Incidents” (add an “s” to make a plural). There is no such word as “incidentses.”  This probably came from the words, instance and instances.

·         How about “Try and” versus “Try to.”  If you say try to that then would be an effort at an attempt, the word “try” implies that someone will make an attempt, “and” implies there will be success.  I will try to hang this picture- an attempt to hang the picture.  I will try and hang this picture, they will try to hang the picture and apparently they will hang the picture.

·         This one is right up there, literally- “I’m literally starving to death.”  Do you really believe that?
Okay enough already, let’s take a look at actual words that people can’t pronounce.
·         Sherbet
o   Correct pronunciation: shur -  bet
o   Incorrect pronunciation: shur - bert
 ·         Espresso
o   Correct pronunciation: ess - presso
o   Incorrect pronunciation: ex – presso
·         Athlete
o   Correct pronunciation: ath - leet
o   Incorrect pronunciation: ath - a – leet
Other phrases and words that create consternation
·         For all intents and purposes
o   Correct pronunciation: For all intents and purposes
o   Incorrect pronunciation: For all intensive purposes
·         Supposed to: Do not omit the d. Suppose to is incorrect.
·         Used to: Same as above. Do not write use to.
·         Toward: There is no s at the end of the word.
·         Anyway: Also has no ending s. Anyways is nonstandard.
·         Couldn't care less: Be sure to make it negative. (Not I could care less.)
·         Farther / Further
·         Farther is talking about a physical distance.
·         “How much farther is Disney World, Daddy?”
·         Further is talking about an extension of time or degree.
·         It’s a mute point?  Huh?? How about – “ It’s a moot point. “
My pet –peave of all??  ‘These ones’… omg…. One is singular.  Helllloooo.  How can you have a plural singular?  We hear this all the time and I’ve noticed it’s our younger generation that doesn’t even seem to care if they speak improper English.  It saddens me.  How about you?  Rita

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